By Ruby Maddox
My last post discussed what donors and volunteers could do to help their favorite community-based organization(CBO). This post is about what CBO staff can do to help their organization. With the end of the year right around the corner, it’s usually time to review budgets, push out final reports. For many orgs it’s a time for reflecting on the work of the previous year and figuring how the organization will best meet its mission in the coming year.
While it’s too late to start any new initiatives, here’s one great way to give your CBO a great head start in the new year.
Organize A Year-Long Communication Plan
Your organization should be in contact with donors and other stakeholders throughout the year (not just during the giving season). Creating a year-long communication plan is a major part of creating a donor stewardship plan, since effective and consistent communication builds relationships with current donors and cultivates new ones. Here are a few things you should add to your calendar.
- Donor Recognition/Volunteer Appreciation events. These events are a way to say thank you as well as build relationships and foster engagement.
- Volunteer Events. Identify ways in which your donors and other stakeholders can contribute to the organization through an activity. Maybe you already have annual volunteer events. Think about how you can make them fun and festive. This type of engagement will allow volunteers to feel more connected to the organization while assisting the organization in its goals. By strategically setting these dates ahead of time you’ll get the word out sooner and be able to organize other communication plans accordingly.
- Newsletter outreach dates. An organization’s newsletter can be useful in keeping in contact with the CBO’s environment. It’s an opportunity to keep folks aware of the organization’s activities and achievements. Newsletters can tie a CBO’s communication plan together since, if planned in advance for the year, it can be used to recognize donors, advertise volunteer events, and share the org’s success stories all throughout the year.
If your CBO is too under resourced for a monthly newsletter try quarterly. Your newsletter can be done on actual paper or electronically emailed to your CBO’s mailing list through services like constant contact or mailchimp.
- Thank you card distribution. Be sure to thank donors and volunteers in a timely fashion. I cannot stress this enough. After the volunteer events and fundraisers make a plan to thank your donors right away. If the event is scheduled on a Saturday be sure to place on the calendar the date for drafting and distributing thank you notes.